When I was a bit younger my Dad was very unsure of my career path, just because it’s such a precarious profession… I got into drama school and think he realised then I might be okay at acting.
The name ‘Francis Ortega' was being talked about everywhere after he was awarded Best Male Actor at The Spotlight Prize awards 2008. Phil Matthews meets a young actor who is decisive about his future.
How did you decide to become an actor?
I had a teacher who was very inspirational who showed us playwrights such as Edward Bond, Berkoff and Greek Tragedies. I got very into those plays. Come the end of my A Levels I decided to apply to drama schools. The first time I was unsuccessful and I was a bit deterred by the whole experience. I was 17 and it felt very awkward.
Did you take a year out?
I took a couple of years out. I lived in Cornwall for a year and worked with a theatre company called Cornish Theatre Collective. Then in the second year, the Artistic Director of that company, Dominic Knutton, who went to Rose Bruford about twenty years ago, really supported me and said ‘you've got to go to drama school'. I got accepted into Rose Bruford.
What skills did you get from your training?
Voice training is paramount. Whether it's Rhetorical Speaking or speaking verse, or just being able to breathe and stay centred. You pick up the things that help you to be a better actor. Some will work for you and some won't. I am a very physical actor and fi nding the physicality has always been a key thing for me to get into character. I realised how important finding a voice for the character is.
How supportive were your parents?
When I was a bit younger my Dad was very unsure of my career path, just because it's such a precarious profession. But he said to me “Look, if you're going to do it, get a proper training”. I got into drama school and think he realised then I might be okay at acting – they need reassurance as well. My Dad said to me “You can do anything, but do the best that you can, I'd support you” and I don't feel like I let him down in that. I owe
everything to my parents.
Read the full published interview in The Drama Student Magazine where Francis continues to talk about his training at Rose Bruford, his reaction when he won The Spotlight Prize and also some valuable tips for prospective students – Subscribe now